Reporting Gigi Barnett
FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ)– Experts say texting while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. It’s a message being sent to service members at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.
Gigi Barnett has the story.
As a rule, Army Pvt. Markia Kralevic doesn’t send text messages while she drives. But sometimes, she will pick up the phone and text.
“My husband will say, ‘Are you on your way home?’ And I will say, ‘Yes.’ Or I’ll text my mom and say, ‘I’m on my way,’” Kralevic said.
But after stepping into this driving while texting simulator, Kralevic racked up some major violations, including vehicular manslaughter.
“I feel so bad! It was a stop light and I didn’t see it. I just kept going and that’s how I killed someone,” she said.
“Try to type in: I am driving,” Justin Richard of the U.S. Navy is instructed in the simulator.
The simulator is part of Safety Day at Fort Meade for Army and Navy service members. The message to them: Put the phone down and spare lives.
“I won’t be doing that anymore. I won’t be texting and driving anymore,” Richard said.
Four out of every five accident nationwide are caused by distracted driving. And experts say that texting is the most dangerous.
“It’s at least as dangerous as drunk driving. If a person makes a habit out of it, there’s a 100 percent chance they will end up in an accident,” Storn Olson, simulator operator, said.
That would add to the thousands who die every year nationwide because of distracted driving.
About 89 percent of Americans own cell phones. It is illegal to text and drive in Maryland.